If you’re in marketing, it’s your job to read the room. You have a customer base that you have to appeal to, and to understand their sensibilities comes with the position.
Beer is one of the most ancient beverages still consumed today. What’s more, it has a certain image associated with it. Today, it’s viewed as daddy’s drink, and you can have some once you’ve grown up.
Considering this, it’s understandable why a corporate beer brand wouldn’t hire an effeminate, shrill charlatan who pretends to be a little girl to be a spokesperson for their brand. Such a move would be entirely self-defeating, especially considering that the delusion that the guy represents goes against the values that the typical working-class beer drinker would be expected to hold.
Understanding all this, it should follow that the backlash against Anheuser Busch for hiring make-believe-girl Dylan Mulvaney as a spokeswhatever for their Bud Light brand would prove to be catastrophic for both the company and the brand. It just follows.
It gets even worse in light of a recently-surfaced video of their own VP of Marketing stating her desire to replace Bud Light’s existing customer base with a newer, younger base, as brought up during this boomer news spot:
Getting younger people on alcohol? What an interesting take. But considering that we live in a society that tolerates companies that want young people addicted to cigarettes and fast food, it’s not altogether surprising.
As much as the diversity hire hates Bud Light’s frat image, she seemed to be rather okay with frat behavior, as revealed in a batch of images of her partying in college, among which is a picture of her drinking out of a rubber. But hey, we all do stupid stuff in college, right? Right?
What kind of colleges are these clowns going to? I remember that when I was in college, most of the students studied hard because they were concerned with their grades, myself included. It’s bad enough that bullshit colleges will give their drunkass students passing grades, it’s a spit in society’s eye that they’ll have six-figure salaries to look forward to after they graduate.
Personally, I have little trouble avoiding Bud Light, because I seldom drink beer. I’m a bit of a fitness enthusiast, so I have trouble fitting a beer in when I’m counting calories. When I do go for one, I usually prefer an IPA, or something less corporate, like something from a smaller, more local brewery.
When I want something alcoholic, I usually go for a cocktail. Those are great, because you know what’s going into them, provided you make them yourself. Also, if a hard liquor goes woke, replacing it with a different one is a snap.
I’m not going to pretend that I have a thorough comprehension of the bar scene. I mainly went to bars because a friend of mine wanted to go. But I do know well enough that they tend to have a certain culture, where you don’t want to stand out for doing weird shit. Considering this, to have Dylan Mulvaney, a man known for pretending to be a little girl, as a spokeswhatever for a beer brand seems like an act of sabotage. Granted, not every bar is the same.
Again, if you’re in marketing, you have a job to read the room. You certainly don’t have a mandate to replace a brand’s existing customer base with the kind that you might prefer.
Anheuser Busch has one move which would be more effective than any other to reduce the damage done to their brand. No, it’s not to hope the problem goes away on its own. No, it’s not to release some smarmy advertising spot in the hopes that their original base ignores the fact that they didn’t back down.
It would be to issue an apology. To acknowledge that what they did was wrong, denounce the same wrong that was committed, and resolve to do better going forward.
And the best part is, it doesn’t take a team of marketers or PR consultants. All it takes is a few minutes on Twitter. And it’s free.
They might take a hit to their ESG score, but with major companies like Vanguard already dropping ESG, they’d be ahead of the game.
Or they can continue to writhe while pretending that everything is okay. Either way, I’m getting what I want.